Biology, Management, and Culture of Walleye and Sauger

Chapter 11: Harvest Regulations and Sampling

Daniel A. Isermann and Bradford G. Parsons


Due to their economic and social importance, walleye and sauger populations are intensively monitored and managed across most of their broad geographic range. Efforts to manage walleye and sauger populations have come in the form of harvest regulations, stocking, and habitat protection or manipulation. Habitat and stocking aspects of walleye and sauger management are discussed in detail in Chapters 5 and 12, respectively; this chapter focuses on the use of harvest regulations for managing walleye and sauger populations. Additionally, population assessment and monitoring represents a key component in effective management of walleye and sauger. Consequently, this chapter also includes a synopsis of the methods used to sample walleyes and saugers for the purposes of describing life history, population structure, and population dynamics.

Harvest regulations represent one of the most common tools used in managing walleye and sauger populations. As noted in Chapter 10, these regulations are typically enacted to manage exploitation rates, often in an effort to improve the quality of fishing within recreational fisheries. Harvest regulations differ widely among individual walleye and sauger populations and vary in complexity from simple daily bag or creel limits to more complex restrictions such as slot-length limits. Additionally, harvest regulations often vary significantly between recreational hook-and-line fisheries and commercial or subsistence fisheries where regulations such as harvest quotas and gear restrictions are more commonly used.